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Starring LA: Mi Vida Loca

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This weekend maybe you stopped by the Lotus Festival in Echo Park. If so, you were treading on ground that once, way back before Clinton was elected president, was the domain of junkies and gang-bangers.

Back then, Echo Park was populated by some crunchy hippies, a handful of ballsy hipsters, and a whole lot of Hispanic families. With idle teenagers. Some carried guns.

1993's Mi Vida Loca is Allison (ballsy hipster) Anders' second film. She was intrigued by the neighborhood gang kids, got their advice on the script, and even cast some (like Nélida López, pictured). Some say the film is authentic; others disagree.

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Mi Vida Loca focuses on people who don't usually get screen time; not just poor gang kids, but the girls in gang life. As gang movies go, it's a pretty quiet, with relationships and tough decisions in the foreground and drivebys in the background.

More than anything, though, it's a piece of history. The average price for a single family home in Echo Park was $512,000 this May. Which means that you can look for small-time dope dealers around Echo Park Lake, but you're more likely to see them by watching this DVD.